Suspect confessed after hearing the gospel at Wake Forest church.
By David Leone
YOUNGSVILLE — Two brothers are in an eastern North Carolina jail awaiting arraignment for committing sex offenses against their sister when they lived in Hertford.
Charged May 6 are Eric Andrew Jackson, 27, and Jon Marc Jackson, 25, 8229 Zebulon Road, Youngsville, near the Wake-Franklin line.
Perquimans County Sheriff Eric Tilley said Tuesday six Jackson brothers participated in the abuse — with their parents’ knowledge — over a 10-year period, beginning when their sister was age 4.
Eric Jackson turned himself in December 2012 after confessing his sin to his church elder, Dan Horn, at Hope Baptist Church in rural Wake Forest.
“He came down to our office and told us what happened (with) his brothers and sibling sister. Since then, two other brothers spoke to us,” said Tilley. “They all came in when they found out about the indictments.”
The charges are:
•Eric Jackson — three counts each of rape of a child, statutory rape and sex offense. He is being held on a $200,000 secured bond.
•Jon Jackson — one count first-degree sex offense. His bond is $75,000.
•Matthew James Jackson, 22, 15707 Split Creek Drive, Monument, Colo. — five counts rape of a child; $150,000 bond.
•Nathaniel Thomas Jackson, 21, 15954 Jackson Creek, Colo. — two counts first degree sex offense, three counts statutory rape; $75,000 bond.
•Aaron Jackson, 19, 742 Chapanoke Road, Hertford — three counts statutory rape. Bond, $150,000.
•Benjamin Jackson, 19, 742 Chapanoke Road, Hertford —three counts statutory rape. Bond, $150,000.
•Nita Jackson, 54, 742 Chapanoke Road, Hertford — one count child abuse involving a sexual act. $15,000 bond.
•John Marc Jackson, 65, 742 Chapanoke Road, Hertford — one count felony child abuse. $15,000 bond.
All were arrested May 5-6. The arraignment is set for Monday, said Tilley.
‘Power of the gospel’
Hope Baptist is a small evangelical church with a couple hundred members that formed eight years ago. It’s located at 825 Averette Road. Heading it up is Elder Scott Brown.
Brown confirmed Tuesday that Eric Jackson had been attending the church when he decided to share his story with Horn.
“One of these boys came to our church a couple of years ago,” Brown said. “And they were convicted by the preaching of the gospel and were converted and became increasingly convicted of their sin against their sister and thought they should walk in the light. It’s a story of the power of the gospel.”
Calling the revelations “tragic” and “heartbreaking,” Brown believes God moved Jackson to confess.
After telling them, he turned around and went to the authorities.
“Because of the nature of this, we became mandatory reporters,” said Brown. “Eric wanted to report it. [But] if he didn’t, we would have been obligated to report it.”
After the initial report, Perquimans County deputies found confirming the allegations difficult. The family homeschooled their children, didn’t interact socially and lived “a secluded life,” Tilley said. Eventually, deputies spoke with two other brothers, who confirmed the abuse.
However, “the mother and father wouldn’t let us talk to the victim. They fled to Colorado,” Tilley said.
The Sheriff’s Office contacted child protective services in Colorado Springs, which removed the girl, then 14, from the home. After the victim received counseling, Tilley sent an investigator to Colorado and in an interview with the victim and protective services, she confirmed what the three brothers had said.
Most of the children in the family are now grown, but a younger brother remains at home, likely in Colorado, said Tilley. The victim, now 16, was placed in the custody of an older half-brother in Colorado, he added.
Rolesville piano tuner
Eric Jackson is a Rolesville piano tuner and repairman, advertising his business, Redeeming the Tune Piano Service (redeemingthetune.com), as recently as January of this year. He operated out of the office building at 105 S. Main St., near the intersection with Young Street.
After he reported the crime to the police in December 2012, according to the website, he attended a technician training seminar in Bozeman, Mont. in January 2013 and returned for an advanced degree earlier this year.
“This was my second year flying out to Montana, a ‘key’ investment, jump starting my quest to build a professional, God-glorifying piano servicing business in our community,” he wrote in a press release to The Wake Weekly in January.
As of press deadline Tuesday, all six brothers remained in in Albemarle District Jail awaiting trial and their parents had bonded out. The nature of the charges against the parents and their relatively low bond in comparison upset Tilley.
“We had information, not only did they know but witnessed some of it,” he said about John and Nita Jackson. “To me, the parents are more responsible for their kids’ actions, but their felony is a lesser felony. To me it starts with them.”
What do the charges mean?
In North Carolina, the age of consent is 16 years. This means vaginal intercourse or any sexual act with a person under the age of 16 is illegal, even if the individual claims consent was given.
Following are basic definitions of some of the charges against the defendants:
Rape of a child: Vaginal intercourse with a victim under the age of 13 years by a perpetrator at least 18 years old.
Statutory rape: Vaginal intercourse with victim 13-15 years old by a perpetrator at least six years older than the victim.
Sexual offense: Engaging in a sexual act (other than vaginal intercourse) with a victim under the age of 13 years by a perpetrator at least 18 years old.
First degree sexual offense: Engaging in a sexual act (other than vaginal intercourse) with a victim under the age of 13 years by a perpetrator who is at least 12 years old and also at least four years older than the victim; or by a perpetrator who uses threat of deadly force, who inflicts serious injury or who is aided and abetted by one or more other perpetrators.
Felony child abuse: John Jackson was charged with the non-assaultive felony child abuse. N.C. statutes classify a parent or guardian who commits or allows any sexual act with a child, or who commits willful or grossly negligent care with reckless disregard for life as committing felony child abuse.